Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holiness and Favoritism

Don’t be conformed to your former desires, those that shaped you when you were ignorant. But, as obedient children, you must be holy in every aspect of your lives, just as the one who called you is holy. It is written, You will be holy, because I am holy. Since you call upon a Father who judges all people according to their actions without favoritism, you should conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your dwelling in a strange land.” 1 Peter 1:14-17

I have always known that God plays favorites, prime examples would be Jacob and Esau (Malachi 1:3), Joseph over his brothers (Genesis 37:1-10), the children of Abraham over everyone else in the entire world (Genesis 15), the list goes on. So this verse has always been somewhat confusing in that is explicitly states that God does not play favorites when he judges. If you look in the Hebrew scriptures you will clearly find that some people sin and God blesses them for doing, the biggest one is lying. Satan is allegedly the “father of lies” (John 8:44), but when Rahab lied twice (Joshua 6:17)  God spares her life and counts it to her as righteousness (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25); David’s wife lies to her father the king (1 Samuel 19:11-17), but there women are respected and praised for lying saved lives, but according to the law they should be punished. God makes exceptions in His judgements to spare their lives because of their devotion not only to those whom they loved, but to God as well. Rahab ends up becoming an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5) and although Mical does not end up bearing any children and ends up getting dealt a really bad hand by whoever authored 1 Samuel, she was still married to the greatest king of Israel, David, and she still saved his life. These women examples call into question what holiness really is.
To conservatives, holiness is following all of the rules and praying that you do enough “holy” actions. To liberals holiness is serving in as many non-profits and helping as many people as you possibly can. And moderates are just a mix of these two options. Both conservatives and liberals have it wrong though, because the focus of their holiness still comes from within them not from God, the source of all that is holy. They use their actions, or their in-actions in some cases, to prove their holiness when the way to holiness is simple: give into God’s demands instead of your own desires. Mical could have spent one more night with her husband David who she hadn’t seen in months, she would probably have loved to spend time with him, but she knew there was a strong chance he would not be safe there so she told him to leave to save him. Rahab put her life in danger to save Joshua and Caleb fromt the soldiers that were searching for them, but she risked her life so that others might live. Holiness is laying down your life so that others might live, and giving up yourself that God might use you to be a blessing to the world. Jacob was chosen so that God might so the world that even a deceiver can be called righteous; Joseph was chosen to show that even trust-fund babies are capable of having a servant’s heart; Abraham was chosen, because even a pagan can hear the voice of God and obey. What is holiness if nothing but being willing to be used by God. If a prostitute, a trust-fund baby, a liar, and a man married to his sister can all be holy, what’s to stop us from being holy as our Father is holy as well?